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'Taking the Plunge' Creators Talk About Their Historic ADC Black Cube Win

From ADC Global: "As the campaign for the ADC 95th Annual Awards implied, ADC Cubes are a very rare thing—unless of course you were talking about the addictive frozen chocolate mousse Gold Cubes that were served at last week’s Celebration. But there’s rare, and then there’s rare, and last Thursday night etched itself into history as the ADC Black Cube—already an honor so unique that it isn’t even bestowed every year—went to four School of Visual Arts students. This is the first time in ADC’s 95 years that a Best in Show honor went to students.

The Black Cube was awarded to SVA Computer Art, Animation and Visual Effects students Elizabeth Ku-Herrero, Nicholas Manfredi, Thaddeus Andreades and Marie Raoult for their animated short Taking the Plunge. We had a chance to chat with Elizabeth and Nicholas after the ceremony about the challenges of such an ambitious project, the honor of winning such a top award and their plans for their professional futures.

If we may keep the nautical theme going here, when coming up with a thesis, the world is your oyster. How did you and your teammates settle on what you wanted to create?

Elizabeth: We were influenced by a number of aspects in regards to what kind of story we wanted to tell. Firstly, we are a team of four Computer Animation students who were just about to spend an entire year on a film, so we needed to make sure that we were taking advantage of all our skills. Specifically, we had Nick, whose strength lies in Cinematography and Layout. Thaddaeus is one of the most intuitive animators I know. Marie is an incredible modeler and rigger, and I focus on Look Development. This means we needed something that could truly evolve over time, cover a large environment, and would be techincally challenging for us.

Nicholas: Well we started off the process by deciding what environment we wanted to 'live in'. Then one day Liz had the idea of a man proposing to his girlfriend on a dock and just when he’s about to ask her to marry him he drops the ring and has to dive in after it. It sinks down to the depths where it lands on top of a Shark King. From there myself and the rest of the team spoke about different films and stories that we all loved and tried to take different elements as reference from each of them to formulate the story that we wanted to tell.

Elizabeth: We were captivated by a story of love and wanted to turn it into an epic action adventure..." (For the full interview plus more images and another video, click here)

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